5 reasons lists suck

Posted by 
Julie Ross Myers on 
January 5, 2019 under 

Yep, that's a clickbait headline. But lists are all about being clickbait. People love them. Here's why I loathe lists, in a list of my own:

1. Lists are incomplete

Are there really only 7 deadly sins? Or 12 wonders of the world? Or any other finite way to measure what life offers us? Even the elemental table can't be considered final, for all we know.

2. Lists are arbitrary

Consider again the 12 wonders of the world. Yes, the Pyramids are an impressive mystery. No one knows how multi-ton blocks of stone were dragged through the desert and hoisted into place. But a sugar ant, who can carry 50 times his own weight, is just as wondrous.

3. Lists are lazy

Well, let me clarify this. Some lists are useful ways to summarize knowledge. These include checklists, such as "24 SEO Tips." Maybe "10 Celebrity Marriages That Didn't Last A Year" falls in this category. But most blogger lists are just silly compendiums (like the one you're reading).

4. Lists are security blankets

Lists suggest that the world can be sliced and diced and ordered. Things are not that certain. Reality is completely unpredictable and ultimately unfathomable. We can't allow ourselves to forget that.

5. Lists are odd

Lists, like tabletop decor, work best in arrangements of odd numbers. That means you should have 5, 7, 9 things in a list under 10. Above 10, you can begin at 12 and continue with ordinal numbers. But if a list is short, winnowing it down to an odd number of things to include may not come easy.

Do you love lists? Please refrain from commenting.

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